Sunday, January 31, 2016

How to reduce the amount of time spent on grading

Google Classroom, Doctopus, and Goobric a winning combination

A few weeks ago Google Classroom, Doctopus, and Goobric made some improvements and now it is faster to grade assignments online and go completely paperless.  I just graded 130 lab reports using Goobric and it took me less than 3 hours.  Moving from one student to another is fast and easy.  

Within Doctopus is an add-on called Goobric.  This allows you to attach a rubric to the assignment.  This was nice but it took forever to switch between students and if you click off the rubric then it would disappear.  It was taking me longer to grade online than I would be able to by having my students print out the papers.  A few weeks ago all this changed.

Here is what you need to do:

1. Go to Google Classroom and assign your assignment.  
    - When you assign an assignment you have three options: 1. Students can view file, 2. Students can edit file, and 3. Make a copy for every student.  
    - I prefer to Make a copy for every student, this will make it easier when working with Doctopus.  (You can just create a blank document with a title and share that)

2. If you don't already have a rubric for the assignment you will want to create one using Google Sheets.  Make sure you follow these simple rules
     - Leave cell A1 blank
     - Put your numbers in Row 1 (leave A1 blank)
     - Put your categories in column A (leave A1 blank)
     - Write your descriptions in the boxes

3. Once your students have clicked on the assignment and you are ready to grade it you will want to open a new Google Spreadsheet to put all the assignments in one place. Give the new spreadsheet a title

4. Once inside Google Spreadsheet you will need to go to add-ons and select Get Add-ons if you do not already have Doctopus.  Go through the steps to add Doctopus.  Once you have Doctopus you will want to launch it.

5. In step one it will want you to choose a mode. You will want to select ingest a Google Classroom Assignment. Then choose your class and the assignment you want to ingest.

6. Now you are ready to attach your rubric using Goobric.  Select attach Goobric, then my Drive, and then type in the name of your rubric to find it an attach it.

7. You are now ready to quickly grade your students assignments.  Find the column, Goobric link, and click on you first students link.

8. Your rubric will be show above.  You can move from one category in the rubric to the next by clicking the tab key.  Once you have filled in all the score simply click the blue submit button and the next to go to the next student. 

Check out the video for more detailed instructions

(Side Note: When Google came out with Google Classroom in the fall of 2014 I must admit I wasn't particularly happy with it.  I found it lacking in a lot of things.  The concept was great but it had a way to go to compete with other LMS sites like Schoology and Edmodo.  Now that Classroom and Doctopus are incorporated together I will be using it to send out my online assignments.  I still prefer the folders and organization that Schoology provides and will be using that as my LMS but Google Classroom has come a long way from when it first started.)

July 25th is Innovative Classroom Technology Day.  Check out how other teachers are integrating technology into their classroom in the links below.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Purpose of School

I have a confession, I am a science teacher that does not care if my students learn science.  I began my teaching career over 16 years ago, before they had standards.  I had set topics that I had to teach but more freedom on how to teach them.  My students learned through inquiry and a project based learning type of style.  They loved learning, creating, and problem solving.  Then came standards and science turned into a lot of facts.  It was all about memorizing small details.  The focus turned to power points with checks for understandings of the basic facts during the lesson and worksheets to practice the facts.  The tests became multiple choice questions of basic facts.  I really struggled with what was happening. Especially seeing the love of learning disappearing from my students as the years went on.  To me learning small individual facts is not what science is all about.  Science is about investigations, problem solving, analyzing, looking at evidence, communication, and discovery.

So if its not to learn science facts, what is the purpose of school?  To me the purpose of school is to fail.  It is to make mistakes and learn from them.  The purpose of school is to learn skills of problem solving, persevering, learning to work with others, and learning how the choices we make have multiple outcomes.  When my students leave my classroom it will not matter to me if they know atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  What matters to me is that they learn how to think for themselves. That they learn to make better choices and fix their mistakes. It matters to me that they understand the importance of organization and using resources to find information.  

Don't get me wrong.  I love science and I love teaching science.  My students do learn that atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  However, they learn science because my focus is on teaching them skills.  I teach them how to research and organize their information.  I teach them how to gather evidence, how to communicate and discuss ideas with each other. How to make claims and support them with the evidence they have discovered.  I use their science topics to teach these skills.  So will my students learn science?  Absolutely!  However, it is not what I am focused on because to me that is not the purpose of school. 

What do you believe the purpose of school is?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Teacher Facilitator: The new way to teach

What I consider the "typical" teacher style starts with the teacher giving the students the notes, usually through a powerpoint, and then doing some type of worksheet to practice the information from the notes.  The students then go home and do another worksheet for practice.  The whole thing starts again the next day until the unit is done and then the students do a project and take a test.  This is how I used to teach when standards first came out. I never really felt comfortable with this mode of teaching but it was all I knew.  That all changed about four years ago when I learned about a new teaching style called blended learning.

After years of dabbling with different parts of the blended learning style I decided to go all out and instead became a teacher facilitator.  

My students start the unit with an inquiry investigation.  This is usually followed by a flipped lesson where they watch a video at home and then the next day they are put into different groups depending on their level of understanding. The next two to three days are spent exploring the information using science stations.  After the science stations they explain their their knowledge using the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Format. Once they can explain the standard they extend their learning through a project.  Finally, the end is an assessment.

This way of teaching lends itself really well to the 5 E instructional model:

Engage- Inquiry Investigation
Explore- Flipped Lesson and Science Stations
Explain- Claim, Evidence, Reasoning
Extend- Project
Evaluate- Assessment

The best part of this model is watching the students grow and develop the skills to become life long learners.  Instead of being given the information, memorizing it, and then forgetting it a few weeks later. They learn how to find the information on their own and in groups.  Because they are in charge of their learning I find that they still remember the information, even months later after the topic has been taught.  

If you have switch to the teacher facilitator mode I would love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below.